The next stage of the Sequential Pro 2 synthesizer
Last retailed: $1999.00
Note: After 5 years on the market, Sequential LLC announced Friday, May 17, 2019 that the Pro 2 was discontinued. At NAMM 2020, Sequential announced its successor, the Pro 3.
When Sequential released the Pro 3, I had to reexamine the Pro 2, a synthesizer that caused me to reexamine what I looked for in all other synths. Ultimately, I decided there is no way I am ever getting rid of my Pro 2. The Pro 2 and Pro 3 do share many common design characteristics, but overall they are unique synthesizers.
The Pro 3 is not a bigger and better souped up Pro 2. They both have elements that are improvements over the other. Together, they release their greatest potential.
“Combining a Sequential Pro 2 and Pro 3 creates a monster synth system… 7 oscillators, 5 filters, 7 envelopes, 32 lanes of note, parameter and CV sequencing, 8 assignable CV Ins, 8 assignable CV Outs, and I’m not even going to try to count the modulation possibilities.” -Chris Stack
In the end of my reexamination, I decided I had to have both the Pro 2 and the Pro 3.
One of the best mono/paraphonic synths made
The Pro 2 is typical Sequential DSI product, this machine is built. You feel it immediately. Metal and wood casing, there is heft to it. It feels solid. The 44 key semi-weighted keyboard is as good as they come. The Pro 3 has 37 keys. The extra 7 keys of the Pro 2 may be meaningful to you. To have more than 3 octaves without hitting the transpose button may be useful to your keyboarding.
Digital vs. analog oscillators
The Pro 2 has 4 digital oscillators and a sub oscillator. The Pro 3 has 2 analog oscillators and 1 digital oscillator. On the Pro 2 you can play 4 note chords, and with all the same oscillator type and waveform or up to 4 different waveforms. The Pro 3 will play 3 note chords with 2 different oscillator types, with similar waveforms or up to 3 different waveforms and no sub oscillator.
I’m a hybrid digital/analog fan. I’m not opposed to pure analog, over time I’ve had some variety of analog synths and enjoyed them immensely, but a hybrid can be so much more, done properly. Pro 2 specifications say it has “Four DSP-based oscillators plus one sine wave sub oscillator”. I would suggest you watch the 1st of the Marc Doty video series farther down this page to understand properly how the Pro 2’s DSP-based oscillators equal in sound quality and outperform analog oscillators in many ways.
Start with this thought though, changing and adjusting almost nothing else but the oscillator wave shapes produces an amazing selection of sounds. You have the 4 classic wave shapes, saw, square, triangle, sine to start. Then you have 12 complex wave shapes: tines, mellow, church, muted, nasal, boing, gothic, ahhh, shrill, ohhhh, buzzzz, and meh. Next you have 13 super waves: supersaw, supertines, supermellow, superchurch, supermuted, supernasal, superboing, supergothic, superahhh, supershrill, superohhhh, superbuzzzz, and supermeh. Don’t forget noise: red, white, and violet. All are graphically represented real-time as well. Every oscillator can have a different wave shape. All these can be modified with shape mod, the 12 complex shapes can be morphed between 2 or 3 shapes with shape mod. You have FM (exponential and linear), AM, glide, slop, pitch, fine tune, wave reset, key follow, sync, and level. Again, all per oscillator. The sub oscillator stays on sine though, ha!
Forgetting the analog and the wavetable oscillator angles of the Pro 3, there is zero doubt the Pro 2 massively out-oscillates the Pro 3.
I think many a polyphonic synth owner would be better served by the Pro 2. If you are not a pianist or a keyboard wizard in need of 88 weighted keys and unlimited voices, the 4 note polyphony on the Pro 2 may be for you. Yes, I said polyphony. The Sequential specifications say “true 4-voice paraphonic mode with individually-gated envelopes per oscillator”.
Watch the 2nd and 3rd videos of the 15 video Marc Doty tutorial playlist farther down this page to understand properly how the Pro 2 is a 4 voice monophonic, paraphonic and polyphonic synth in reality. There are many good reasons the Pro 2 eats alive many other mono/paraphonic synths out there and the 4 voice polyphony is unusual and a major part of that.
I’ve seen some people say, the Pro 2 is just a single voice of the Prophet 12, which is not true. The Pro 2 does much more with its 4 oscillators than any 4 oscillators on Prophet 12 could dream of. If you had the 12×4 voices, in other words 48 oscillators Pro 2 style, whoa baby! If you are doing bass, leads, sequences, sound effects, AND 4 note chords, etc. this could be a much more satisfying synth for you than many polyphonics.
I am not negative on the Prophet 12, or other polys, but do your homework. It is not unheard of for people to exchange a P12 for a Pro 2 and be much more satisfied.
Controls and navigation are excellent
One thing I really like about the Pro 2 is not only do most functions have knobs or buttons, but there is an easy to read screen to see exactly what your parameters are set to. There is almost no menu diving. It’s all right there with 4 upper knobs and 4 lower buttons instantly assigned to the task at hand. The screen controls line up with the screen readout. You might flip through some tabs with the lower buttons and adjust the parameters with the upper knobs or use the original control elsewhere on the synth.
You can press the ‘show’ button and any other synth control to see what it is set for. This can make deconstructing presets and sounds very easy.
There are backlit pitch and mod wheels immediately to the left of the keyboard, right where I like them. Above the wheels, there are 2 position- and pressure-sensitive latchable touch sliders. That’s at least 5 physical non-knob or menu ways to adjust and modulate your sound mid-performance. Features like this are part of the reason I like hardware over software.
The Pro 3 has 3 filters to choose from, and can route 1 filter at a time. The Pro 2 has 2 filters and more routing options.
- Low-pass 24db/octave based on the Prophet 5 filter
- State-variable 12db/octave based on the Tom Oberheim SEM filter with low-pass, notch, high-pass, and variable between those 3 types. Additionally, there is a band pass mode.
You can run either filter solo or both in serial or parallel modes . You can also split the oscillators into 2 groups and have a different filter on each pair. All the filter functions are visually represented on the screen as well.
Five Envelopes, Four LFOs
The Pro 3 has 4 envelopes, the Pro 2 has 5, Filter 1, Filter 2, Amplifier, and 2 Auxiliary. All visually represented on the screen, which is a great help.
You can pretty much control everything with the Pro 2’s 4 LFOs. A brief summary can’t do the LFOs justice, watch the LFO video below in the Marc Doty tutorials. The Pro 3 has 3 LFOs, however its wavetable oscillator can be the 4th LFO.
Super powerful, MODULAR level modulation. 16 x 2 modulation matrix with over 50 mod sources and over 140 mod destinations. Again, a brief summary can’t do the Pro 2’s modulation justice, watch the pair of modulation videos below in the Marc Doty tutorials. The Pro 3 also has modulation of this level or greater.
Sequencer and Arpeggiator
This is a very strong area of the Pro 2. Sequential’s start as a sequencer company shows. The images above show a 16 step x 3 track sequence. You can have up to 16 steps x 16 tracks or 32 steps x 8 tracks. The sequencer is paraphonic and records up to 4 notes per step in OS 1.3 or higher. I dare say it might very well be that the Waldorf Quantum has the Pro 2 outdone in the sequencer interface department these days, however the Pro 2 has paraphonic/polyphonic sequencing, the Quantum doesn’t, and the 8/16 track parameter per step is more extensive than the Quantum. In fairness, the Quantum may have future enhancements in a firmware revision and the Pro 2 might be at the end of its enhancement cycle. Still the takeaway here is the Pro 2’s sequencer is killer, and also more significant than other Sequential synths except for the Pro 3, which is similar but has twice the steps.
Other notable features
4 CV in, 4 CV out, Gate out, 4 Delay engines, Distortion, Feedback, 5 Character FX (Girth, Air, Hack, Decimate, Drive).
There you have it, any questions leave a comment.
Product support, downloads
Strongly recommended that you download the newest OS, unless you hate bug fixes, stability and new features.
Facebook user groups
Sequential/DSI Pro 2/3 Users Group
August 23, 2019 – Sequential DSI Pro 2 gets all new wood ends + front strip
May 17, 2019 – Sequential DSI Pro 2 officially discontinued
May 12, 2018 – First look at the Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2
Be sure to join the
Uptown Oscillators Facebook Group
This page is a living document, subject to update and expansion.
Last edited – 2/28/2020
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